On Saturday night against the New Orleans Pelicans(20-25), the Dallas Mavericks(23-21) were without their top two players in Luka Doncic(illness) and Kristaps Porzingis(rest).
Dallas battled and fought hard against the Pelicans, but they just did not have enough. Zion Williamson scored 13 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter as New Orleans defeated the Mavericks 112-103 at Smoothie Kings Center.
Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Mavericks with 30 points off the bench and got the Mavericks back into the game and helped Dallas take a lead after they trailed by 15 points in the first quarter, but this game was all about Williamson, who at times, was unstoppable.
According to Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, Williamson was Shaquille O’Neal-like with point guard skills.
“This is a Shaquille O’Neal type force of nature with a point guard skill-set,” Carlisle said. “And if you back off of him, he’ll just take up space and keep coming at you… You gotta have a lot of courage to stand in there and get run over by that guy.”
One guy who dared to take a charge from Williamson was Hardaway Jr., who took a charge from Williamson in the second quarter, and after the game, he discussed how it felt.
“Taking a charge, let alone picking him up off the ground, helping him up,” he said. “That guy is very, very strong. Strong as an ox. He’s a great player, heck of a player. He does an amazing job attacking the basket, getting his teammates involved; he’s excellent at his strengths… He’s doing an amazing job, hard to defend him.”
The 20-year-old Williamson is a load and can be a tough guard. He does have some Shaq in his game, but a better comparison is probably Charles Barkley because of his size, ball-handling ability, and athleticism. However, to be compared to Shaq is an honor.
The Mavericks continue their five-game road trip on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Watch as Hardaway Jr. talks Zion Williamson: